Hotels in Sri Lanka



Tea Factory, Kandapola
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Hotels in Sri Lanka - Nuwara Eliya
Tea Factory,Kandapola

About Hotel  
A hotel of character and star-class, set in an emerald teascape 6,800 feet above sea level, only six degrees from the Equator. In the mountain range, which gave the world Pure Ceylon Tea, the hotel began as a factory built in the days of the British Raj. It has been converted so that much of the original style and machinery remains, a reminder of the past in perfect blend with innovations of the present.

To stay at the Tea Factory is to experience a hotel like none other. Step into its reception, and you are where the factory's leaf drying process was carried out. The atrium is latticed with steel and at its top, two giant wooden fans capped with brass remind you that the bedrooms are on floors that used to be the withering lofts.

The tea packing room is now the hotel's popular bar. Where tea was sifted and graded is the hotel's fine restaurant of class; its modern kitchen used to be the engine room. The cuisine is definitely "my cup of tea", whatever your preference.

The withering lofts have been transformed into 57 bedrooms of cosy, carpeted comfort. Wood is the main material used, with doors, shelves and cupboards (plenty of them) left in their natural colours. The windows remain as they were in their original square wooden frames and these provide a glorious view from any bedroom or bathroom. Each bathroom has a bathtub and shower. Every bedroom is heated and has a built-in dressing table with wrap around mirrors, and beds designed for a perfect night's sleep.

The view from the rooms at the front of the hotel is a wonderful panorama of tea and at its rear, a peaceful pastoral scene of hamlets, hills and forest, as well as more tea meets your gaze.


Surrounded by hills and tea plantations, the town of Nuwara Eliya is the perfect getaway from Sri Lanka's tropical heat. The town enjoys spring like weather throughout the year. A favourite retreat of the British during colonial times, Nuwara Eliya is dotted with English country style houses and sprawling gardens, earning it the name Little England. Stop by the well-maintained Central Park, which is awash with flowers between March and May. Make time for an evening stroll on the numerous walking paths around Gregory's Lake, which is located just south of the town.

Distance from Colombo 180Km.

History of the Tea Factory

In 1867 a Scotsman by the name of James Taylor first introduced tea to Ceylon (as the island was then known). Within a decade, the plant had become a popular crop covering over 5000 acres. As the number of requests to open tea plantations grew, the government sold virgin crown land to pioneer planters in the 1870s. Among the bidders was Mr. W. Flowerdew who became the first proprietary planter of what was to become Hethersett.


In 1867 a Scotsman by the name of James Taylor first introduced tea to Ceylon (as the island was then known). Within a decade, the plant had become a popular crop covering over 5000 acres. As the number of requests to open tea plantations grew, the government sold virgin crown land to pioneer planters in the 1870s. Among the bidders was Mr. W. Flowerdew who became the first proprietary planter of what was to become Hethersett.

Mr. Flowerdew chose for his plantation the name Hethersett, after a village in England, which provides a clue to his origins. In Tamil, the plantation is known as Pupanie, which when translated into English means Flowers of Frost - a picturesque way of describing the cold mist that occasionally descends on Hethersett. By 1881 however, Flowerdew had sold the plantation, which then passed through the hands of different owners, each of whom contributed to its development.

The Hethersett tea plantation has played an important role in the development of Sri Lanka's tea industry. The Hethersett factory was the first to fetch the highest price in the world for silver tip tea from Ceylon. This exciting achievement ensured that the Hethersett mark would become synonymous with quality Pure Ceylon Tea.

In the mid-1930s a hill was scalped to create a plateau for the new factory, which is the hotel today. When it was first built it was regarded as a remarkable work of engineering. The factory was ingeniously powered by an oil fired engine with flywheels and pulleys to operate the large fans for withering the tea, and also the rollers and sifters.

By 1968 however, the Hethersett factory had passed its heyday and was finally closed in 1973. It stood disused, among the surrounding tea bushes, a silent monument to the great days of Pure Ceylon Tea.

In 1992, Mr. G.C. Wickremasinghe, a Director of Aitken Spence & Co. Ltd., happened to observe the tea factory through the mist covered hills. He immediately had a vision of transforming the superbly sited factory shell into a unique, luxury hotel, an idea brought to realisation through the talent of architect Nihal Bodhinayake.

Now restored, the Hethersett Tea Factory is poised to regain its former glory, this time not for its tea but as a successful and innovative hotel.

  • Plush wall-to-wall carpeting
  • Baths / showers with hot and cold water
  • View of the garden
  • Heating
  • Telephone
  • Television with satellite channels
  • Radio
  • Piped music
  • In room dining
  • Hairdryer
  • Tea / coffee making facility
  • Choice of tea in room
  • Babysitting - on request

Exciting Excursions
About 26 km from Nuwara Eliya is St. Clairs Falls, which is a lovely waterfall.
Travelling time: 1 hour (43km)

To the North of the Town rises Pidurutalagala, the highest mountain in Sri Lanka at 2524m.

Hakgala Botanical Gardens is situated at the base of the Hakgala Peak south of Nuwara Eliya. Established in 1860, the garden is famous for its roses, ferns, the orchid house and the summerhouse. The rock of Hakgala rises 450 m above the gardens.
Travelling time: 45 minutes (22km)

The Hakgala Natural Reserve can be found at the end of the gardens and is home to a variety of wildlife including bear, monkey, sambhur and bird life.

The Horton Plains National Park is a misty grassland plateau at an elevation of more than 2000 m (6,500 ft), about 20 km from Nuwara Eliya. It consists of grasslands interspersed with areas of forest and some unusual vegetation that grows only in high altitudes. From here rises Sri Lanka's second and third highest mountains. The plains afford some excellent walks, the silence is strange and mysterious. The most amazing feature of Horton Plains is the World's End where the southern part of the plains comes to a sudden end and drops almost straight down for 700 m. Dawn is the ideal time to view this site when the mountains are free of mist and the sun is just rising. The dense forests are home to deer, jackal, the shaggy bear-monkey, sambhur and the occasional leopard. The plains are popular with birdwatchers.
Travelling time: 1.5 hours (45km)

Randenigala Dam and Wildlife Sanctuary
Modern irrigation scheme in Sri Lanka. Ideal for viewing wild elephants.
Travelling time: 2 hours (56km)

Mahakudugala Peak
Breathtaking views of the surrounding valleys.
Travelling time: 45 minutes (14km)

Kurundu Oya Falls
The picturesque Kurundu Oya Waterfalls, the third tallest in Sri Lanka with a drop of 189m is a one and a half hour drive from the hotel.
Travelling time: 1.5 hours (25km)

Sita Eliya Temple
The Temple is located about 1km away from the Hakgala Gardens. According to legend the temple is believed to mark the spot where Sita, the heroine from the Indian epic Ramayana, was held captive by her abductor, King Ravana.
Travelling time: 1 hour (about 43km)

Adams Peak (Sripada)
Also known as Sripada or Samanalakande, Adams Peak has been the object of worship and pilgrimage for centuries.
The 'pilgrim season' begins on a poya day in December, and runs until the start of the April monsoon.
Travelling time: 2.5 hours (100km)

  • Weddings
  • Oriental massage using ayurvedic oils
  • Restaurant and 2 bars
  • Mini shopping arcade
  • Postal services
  • Library
  • Conference and seminar facilities
  • Doctor on call
  • Floral requirements
  • TV lounge / games room
  • Safe deposit box
  • Car rental
  • Laundry service
Sports & Recreation
  • Mini putting golf area (9 holes)
  • Horse / pony ride
  • Hethersett jungle trekking
  • Bird watching
  • Entertainment programmes
  • Indoor games - carrom, chess, darts, bingo, pool
  • Booking of sightseeing tours
  • Gymnasium
  • Nature trails
  • Pluck your own tea from the Hethersett estate and process it in the hotels miniature tea factory
  • 18 hole golf course in Nuwara Eliya
International Recognition
UNESCO Asia-Pacific Heritage Merit Award 2001
The UNESCO Regional Advisor for Culture in Asia and the Pacific announced the awards for the year on 17th September 2001. The Tea Factory, a unique hotel concept, received one of the five merit awards for the impressive conversion of a dilapidated tea factory into a luxury hotel complex, demonstrating a challenging adaptive reuse project, executed with commendable skill and vision.

All winning entries demonstrated understanding of the issues of conservation in relation to the cultural, social, historical and architectural significance of the building, employment of appropriate building and artisan techniques, use of appropriate materials, and a significant impact in the surrounding environment, contributing to the cultural and historical continuum of the community.

South Asian Architecture Award
South Asian architecture awards were initiated in 1995 to recognise the world of architectural excellence in the whole of South Asia. Being the first award of its kind in the SAARC region, this has earned great prestige, status and confidence of the fraternity of Architects in the sub-continent. Mr. Nihal Bodhinayake received a commendation award in 1996 for converting an abandoned tea factory into a unique theme hotel in Nuwara Eliya.

Most Innovative Product
The Tea Factory was awarded the "Most Innovative Product" marketed at the TTF fair in Ahamadebad, India in 1998. This unique accolade was conferred on the hotel after evaluating other unique products featured at the fair from many Asian countries.

The Tea Factory Wins RICS Award 2000
The Tea Factory was awarded the prestigious RICS award conferred by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors, London In October 2000. This award is presented to encourage and recognize the outstanding achievements and technical ingenuity in the field of conservation and enhancement of built and natural environment.

In evaluating The Tea Factory against entries from all over the world the judges were impressed by the factors such as utilization of an abandoned building by putting it into beneficial use at an economic cost, preventing the building from falling into dereliction, decay & causing damage to the environment and maintaining the entire façade of the original building as well as retaining numerous other features such as the old machinery, driving shafts and pulleys. The improvement of the socio-economic status of thousands of poor villagers living in the vicinity and ingeniously making maximum use of an existing asset by suitably modifying it for its new role in the tourist industry was implemented in a coordinated manner.

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